Oakland Warehouse Fire Considered Preventable

Firefighters putting out a fire at night

The devastating fire that caused the deaths of at least 36 people in Oakland on Friday, December 2 could have been prevented, according to public officials. The Alameda County District Attorney’s office has launched an investigation to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

According to witnesses, the fire started around midnight and quickly consumed most of the building, known as the Ghost Ship. Police believe that nearly 200 people may have been in the building at the time of the fire. A Facebook page indicated that an electronic music act, Golden Donna, was scheduled to perform at the Ghost Ship Friday night and that 192 people had planned to come to the show.

According to residents, the Ghost Ship was the brainchild of Derick Almena and his wife, Micah Allison, who ran an artist’s collective, leasing living and studio space for a small fee. It is believed that 20-25 artists lived in the old warehouse.

Public records show that a number of complaints had been filed against the building’s owner, Chor N. Ng, as recently as last month. Authorities say the building permits allow use only as a warehouse, and do not include either living or entertainment space. The building had no fire alarms or sprinkler system and had only two exits. Furthermore, the access to and from the entertainment space, on the second floor, was a makeshift stairway constructed of old wooden pallets. Oakland officials say no one had obtained a permit for the Golden Donna show, either.

A former resident told reporters that Almena had encouraged artists to cover up the fact that they were actually living in the warehouse. She said, however, that police came by weekly and knew that people were living there. City Councilman Noel Gallo, who lives a block from the Ghost Ship, said he knew that people were living there.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring almost 30 years of experience to people in California who have been injured because of the carelessness or negligence of another person. We built our practice on a strong commitment to personal service and attention. We’ll take the time to learn the unique aspects of your case, so that we can tailor our representation to get the outcome you want. When you hire us to help you pursue full and fair compensation for all your losses, Joe Nierenberg will work directly with you throughout the process.

To set up a free initial consultation with an experienced California personal injury attorney, contact Weber & Nierenberg by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.

Speak Your Mind


Locations & Contact Information
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


1 Sansome Street, Suite 3500 San Francisco, CA 94104
P. 415-788-3900

1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1800 Oakland, CA 94612
P. 510-663-6000

Read Our Blogs

Wishing You And Yours A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We are sending holiday cheer to you in the hopes that you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a healthy New Year. As we look ... [Read More...]